2014-08-30 / Letters

Silver Birches Issue Concerns Zoning, Not Preservation

To the Editor:

In last week’s report of the August 12 Planning Commission meeting, the Town Crier reported in the first sentence, “The Planning Commission has said it will not recommend a plan to preserve Silver Birches by rezoning the lodge and property to a resort.”

I am concerned with the way that was said. More specifically, I am concerned with the fact the Town Crier put in the words “to preserve” in the statement. We never voted on a plan specifically to preserve or not preserve Silver Birches. We made a recommendation to the ZBA regarding the request to rezone the property. Yes, I understand that the property owner has linked preserving the buildings with their request to rezone the property, but the Town Crier’s statement makes it sound like the Planning Commission was not in favor of preserving the buildings. Everyone on the planning commission has said multiple times that we are in favor of preserving the buildings. After a lot of thought, input, and discussion, the planning commission voted and did not feel the conditions submitted at the meeting fit within our current zoning and master plan.

If you look back at our history over the past year, we have approved projects so the property owner can restore and “preserve” the cottages on her property which she is in the process of completing. We have never prevented the property owner from preserving the lodge or any of her structures. The property owner has never submitted plans to us regarding preserving the lodge. If the property owner did submit plans and they fit within our current zoning, I think the commission would be very supportive.

I know the Town Crier went into further detail in the rest of the article that may have clarified these points, but, unfortunately, you and I know that most people in this day and age draw their conclusions about a topic after reading the first few sentences.

Michael Straus, chairman, Mackinac Island

Planning Commission

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